The Russian government earlier this year did a so-called “suspension” of its participation in the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), indicating that it would no longer provide biannual data updates or notifications, nor would it allow on-site inspections provided for by the treaty. In the subsequent three months, the US government responded by taking similar steps.
Both Moscow and Washington maintain that they continue to observe New START’s numerical limits. However, the absence of data updates, notifications, and on-site inspections will erode their ability to monitor each other’s compliance, particularly regarding the limit on deployed strategic warheads.
The sides continue to exchange notifications required under other bilateral agreements that could help avoid miscalculation. Still, the loss of the information provided by New START’s monitoring provisions will decrease each sides’ confidence in their understanding of the other’s strategic forces. In the near term, it will marginally increase nuclear risk.
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